The Avengers, (Marvel Studios' Avengers) in the United Kingdom and Ireland) is a 2012 American superhero film, that was created and produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Motion Pictures, and is based off on the superhero team of the same name in the comics. They are a group of Marvel superheroes consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye under the Avengers Initiative headed by Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
They were formed as a last minute security measure to counter the threat caused by Loki and his alien "Chitauri Army" army who came to conquer Earth.
The Asgardian Loki encounters the Other, the leader of an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri. In exchange for retrieving the Tesseract, a powerful energy source of unknown potential, The Other promises Loki a Chitauri army with which he can subjugate the Earth.
Nick Fury, director of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and his lieutenant Agent Maria Hill arrive at a remote research facility during an evacuation, where physicist Dr. Erik Selvig is leading a research team experimenting on the Tesseract. Agent Phil Coulson explains that the object has begun radiating an unusual form of energy. The Tesseract suddenly activates and opens a wormhole, allowing Loki to reach Earth. Loki takes the Tesseract and uses his scepter to enslave Selvig and several agents, including Clint Barton, to aid him in his getaway.
In response to the attack, Fury reactivates the "Avengers Initiative". Agent Natasha Romanoff is sent to Calcutta to recruit Dr. Bruce Banner to trace the Tesseract through its gamma radiation emissions. Coulson visits Tony Stark to have him review Selvig's research, and Fury approaches Steve Rogers with an assignment to retrieve the Tesseract.
While Barton steals Iridium needed to stabilize the Tesseracts power, Loki causes a distraction in Stuttgart leading to a confrontation with Rogers, Stark, and Romanoff that ends with Loki's surrender. While Loki is being escorted to S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor, his adoptive brother, arrives and frees him hoping to convince him to abandon his plan and return to Asgard.
After a confrontation with Stark and Rogers, Thor agrees to take Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s flying aircraft carrier, the Helicarrier. There Loki is imprisoned while scientists Banner and Stark attempt to locate the Tesseract. The Avengers become divided, both over how to approach Loki and the revelation that S.H.I.E.L.D. plans to harness the Tesseract to develop weapons as a deterrent against hostile extraterrestrials.
As the group argues, Barton and Loki's other possessed agents attack the Helicarrier, disabling its engines in flight and causing Banner to transform into the Hulk. Stark and Rogers try to restart the damaged engine, and Thor attempts to stop the Hulk's rampage. Romanoff fights Barton, and knocks him unconscious, breaking Loki's mind control. Loki escapes after killing Coulson and ejecting Thor from the airship, while the Hulk falls to the ground after attacking a S.H.I.E.L.D. fighter jet.
Fury uses Coulson's death to motivate the Avengers into working as a team. Stark and Rogers realize that simply defeating them will not be enough for Loki; he needs to overpower them publicly to validate himself as ruler of Earth. Loki uses the Tesseract, in conjunction with a device Selvig built, to open a wormhole above Stark Tower to the Chitauri fleet in space, launching his invasion.
The Avengers rally in defense of New York City, the wormhole's location, but quickly realize they will be overwhelmed as wave after wave of Chitauri descend upon Earth. Banner transforms into the Hulk, and together with Rogers, Stark, Thor, Barton and Romanoff, they battle the Chitauri while evacuating civilians. The Hulk goes after Loki and beats him into submission.
Romanoff makes her way to the wormhole's generator where Selvig, freed of Loki's control, reveals that Loki's scepter can be used to close the wormhole. Meanwhile, Fury's superiors attempt to end the invasion by launching a nuclear missile at Manhattan. Stark intercepts the missile and takes it through the wormhole toward the Chitauri fleet. The missile detonates, destroying the Chitauri's mothership and leaving their forces disabled on Earth.
Stark's suit runs out of power and he falls back through the wormhole, but the Hulk saves him from crashing to the ground. Romanoff deactivates the wormhole to prevent further invasion. In the aftermath, Thor returns Loki and the Tesseract to Asgard. Fury expresses confidence that the Avengers will return if and when they are needed.
In the mid-credits scene, the Other confers with his master, Thanos, about the attack on Earth and humanity's resistance, saying challenging them would be to court death, to which Thanos smiles (presumely as a nod to the comics in which Thanos' love is Death); following that, in the post-credits scene, the Avengers eat in silence at a shawarma restaurant.
- The Avengers:
- Maria Hill (film)
- Pepper Potts (film)
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- Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man:
A self-described genius, billionaire, playboy and philantrophist, who is one of the founding members of The Avengers, and has mechanical suits of his own invention, in which he uses to become the super-hero known as Iron Man.
- Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America: A rejected soldier recruit for World War II who joined the Super-human program and became a powerful and famous war hero. He was suspneded in frozen animation until he was found and revived in the modern world.
- Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner / The Hulk: A scientist who is an expert on gamma-radiation, and after an accident with his research causes him to turn into a giant powerful green monster called the Hulk, when angered.
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson:
The crowned prince of Asgard and rightful heir to the throne. He is an Asgardian and the God of Thunder who's duty is to protect the nine-realms.
Avi Arad, the CEO of Marvel Studios, first announced plans to develop the film in April 2005, after Marvel Enterprises declared independence by allying with Merrill Lynch to produce a slate of films that would be distributed by Paramount Pictures. Marvel discussed their plans in a brief presentation to Wall Street analysts; the studio's intention was to release individual films for the main characters—to establish their identities and familiarize audiences with them—before merging the characters together in a crossover film.
Screenwriter Zak Penn, who wrote The Incredible Hulk (2008), was hired by Marvel Studios to write the film in June 2007. In the wake of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Marvel negotiated with the Writers Guild of America to ensure that it could create films based on its comic book counterparts, including Captain America, Ant-Man and The Avengers. After the successful release of Iron Man (2008) in May, the company set a July 2011 release date for The Avengers. In September 2008, Marvel Studios reached an agreement with Paramount—an extension of a previous partnership—which gave the company distribution rights for five future Marvel films.
Casting began in October 2008 with Downey's signing. Though Don Cheadle was also reported to be reprising his Iron Man 2 role of War Machine for The Avengers, he later stated that he did not think the character would appear in the film. At the same time, two major prospects occurred for Marvel; Jon Favreau was brought in as an executive producer for the film, and the company signed a long-term lease with Raleigh Studios to produce three other big-budget films—Iron Man 2, Thor (2011), and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)—at their Manhattan Beach, California complex.
Lou Ferrigno, who voiced Hulk in The Incredible Hulk, stated that he would be involved in the film. In February 2009, Samuel L. Jackson signed a nine-picture deal with Marvel Entertainment to play Nick Fury in Iron Man 2 and other films. In September 2009, Edward Norton, who played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk stated that he was open to returning in the film.
The next month, executive producer Jon Favreau stated that he would not direct the film, but would "definitely have input and a say". Favreau also expressed concerns, stating, "It's going to be hard, because I was so involved in creating the world of Iron Man, and Iron Man is very much a tech-based hero, and then with Avengers you're going to be introducing some supernatural aspects because of Thor. . . . [Mixing] the two of those works very well in the comic books, but it's going to take a lot of thoughtfulness to make that all work and not blow the reality that we've created".
In March 2009, actress Scarlett Johansson replaced Emily Blunt in portraying Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2, a deal that subsequently attached her to The Avengers. The female superhero Wasp was included in an earlier draft of the script written before Johansson's involvement. The following day, Marvel announced that the film's release date had been pushed back to May 4, 2012, almost a full year later. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston joined the film's cast in June, returning as Thor and Loki, respectively.
In July 2009, Penn talked about the crossover process, stating, "My job is to kind of shuttle between the different movies and make sure that finally we're mimicking that comic book structure where all of these movies are connected. . . There's just a board that tracks 'Here's where everything that happens in this movie overlaps with that movie'. . . I'm pushing them to do as many animatics as possible to animate the movie, to draw boards so that we're all working off the same visual ideas. But the exigencies of production take first priority".
In January 2010, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was asked if it would be difficult to meld the fantasy of Thor with the high-tech science fiction in Iron Man and The Avengers. "No," he said, "because we're doing the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee/Walt Simonson/J. Michael Straczynski Thor. We're not doing the blow-the-dust-off-of-the-old-Norse-book-in-your-library Thor. And in the Thor of the Marvel Universe, there's a race called the Asgardians. And we're linked through this Tree of Life that we're unaware of.
It's real science, but we don't know about it yet. The 'Thor' movie is about teaching people that". In March, it was reported that Penn had completed the first draft of the script, and that Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada and Avengers comic-book writer Brian Michael Bendis had received copies.
Also in March, Chris Evans accepted an offer to play Captain America in three films including The Avengers. In April 2010, Variety reported that Joss Whedon was close to completing a deal to direct the film, and to rework Penn's script.
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Principal photography began on April 25, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In June 2011, stuntman Jeremy Fitzgerald injured his head while attempting a stunt involving a 30-foot fall from a building after getting hit by an arrow. A Marvel spokesperson later told TMZ.com that despite the injury, Fitzgerald recovered and continued working on set. The following month, secondary filming took place about an hour outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the Butler area. A chase sequence was also shot in Worthington, Pennsylvania at Creekside Mushroom Farms, the world's largest single-site mushroom farm, which provided 150 miles of abandoned limestone tunnels 300 feet below the ground for filming.
Production relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in August 2011, where filming transpired over a period of four weeks. The city's East 9th Street was chosen as a double for New York City's 42nd Street to be used in climactic battle scenes. Army Reserve soldiers assigned to the Columbus, Ohio-based 391st Military Police Battalion provided background action during the battle scenes in Cleveland. Staff Sergeant Michael T. Landis stated the use of real soldiers made the scenes more realistic and helped portray the military in a more positive light, explaining that, "It's easy for us to make on-the-spot corrections to tactics and uniforms, the director actually took our recommendation on one scene and let us all engage the enemy as opposed to only the gunners in the trucks engaging". Filming also took place in the large vacuum chamber at the NASA Plum Brook Station near Sandusky, Ohio. The station's Space Power Facility was used to portray a S.H.I.E.L.D. research facility. A series of explosions were filmed at the Chevrolet powertrain plant in Parma, Ohio as part of the battle sequence that began in Cleveland. Scenes from the film were also shot on Public Square and the Detroit–Superior Bridge. Public Square's southwest quadrant was turned into Stuttgart, Germany, for filming.
Principal photography concluded in New York City, where filming occurred over two days. Filming locations in New York City included Park Avenue and Central Park. For scenes taking place in Manhattan, visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison shot aerial footage for over three days to use as background plates, elaborating that his main objective was to "get as much aerial work in as possible for the audience to see the big expanses, the wide establishing shots, while also making sure that the effects work doesn't look too computer generated". "We're getting much better at making entirely computer-generated environments," Morrison explained, "but there is no substitute for starting with a real image and adding what you need."
Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey stated that he composed the frame with an 1.85:1 aspect ratio to cope with the varying heights of the main characters, explaining that "shooting 1.85:1 is kind of unusual for an epic film like this, but we needed the height in the screen to be able to frame in all the characters like Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow, who is much smaller. We had to give them all precedence and width within the frame. Also, Joss [Whedon] knew the final battle sequence was going to be this extravaganza in Manhattan, so the height and vertical scale of the buildings was going to be really important." The film was McGarvey's first venture shooting with a digital camera, the Arri Alexa. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 7D digital SLR cameras were used for some shots, and high-speed shots were captured on 35 mm film with the Arriflex 435. About his visual approach, McGarvey remarked, "Joss and I were keen on having a very visceral and naturalistic quality to the image. We wanted this to feel immersive and did not want a 'comic book look' that might distance an audience with the engagement of the film. We moved the camera a lot on Steadicam, cranes and on dollies to create kinetic images; and we chose angles that were dramatic, like low angles for heroic imagery."
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- Main Article: The Avengers Soundtrack
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- Main Article: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
A sequel, entitled The Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on April 5, 2015. The main cast was set to return, and new actors were added as well to portray new characters. Ultron was set to be the film's main antagonist, and Joss Whedon, who directed the previous Avengers film, returned to direct the sequel.
About the film, Whedon stated that it would be a darker storyline than it's a predecessor, and that it would not be following the Age of Ultron storyline in the comics.
- Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk.
- The world premiere was held at the El Capitan Theatre on April 11, 2012.
- The film broke numerous box office records, including the biggest opening weekend in North America and the fastest film to gross $1 billion. The Avengers grossed $1.51 billion worldwide, and became the third highest-grossing film of all time, behind James Cameron's Avatar and Titanic.
- Walt Disney Pictures retitled the film in the United Kingdom and Ireland to avoid confusion with the unrelated 1961 British TV series of the same title, which in turn had its own similarly titled movie adaptation. The film was retitled Avengers Assemble, after the popular catchphrase from the comic books. The reaction to the title change was mixed.
- Tony Stark mentions Life-Model Decoys when Agent Coulson comes to recruit him, saying, "You have reached the Life-Model Decoy of Tony Stark" in order to avoid him.
- In a scene ultimately deleted from the final film, Steven Rogers is shown reviewing files related to the Avengers Initative. Among them are files on the deceased Howard Stark, a retired Peggy Carter and a deceased James Falsworth.
- When Tony Stark invites Bruce Banner to the Stark Tower, Banner declines saying, "Thanks. But the last time I was in New York, I kind of broke Harlem." This is a reference to his battle with the Abomination in the final act of The Incredible Hulk.
- A post credits scene was filmed on the 12th of April (after The Avengers world premiere). It features the six Avengers eating at the shawarma restaurant mentioned by Stark. Chris Evans had to wear a prosthetic face mask to hide his beard growth and further conceals the mask behind his hand as he eats. Due to the late filming of this scene it was not ready for the international release on the 25th, and therefore does not appear on The Avengers presentations in many countries.
- During the confrontation between Loki and Captain America, Rogers states that the last time he was in Germany he had a disagreement with a man in power standing high above everyone else. It is likely that he was referring to a confrontation he may have had with either fascist dictator Adolf Hitler or his own archnemesis the Red Skull.
- The Avengers is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be released by Walt Disney Pictures. Four of the preceding Marvel Studios productions (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger) were released by Paramount Pictures and The Incredible Hulk was released by Universal Studios. The Paramount logo appears on Avengers posters and the film's opening titles as part of the deal between Disney and Paramount. Walt Disney Pictures is not credited until the final moments after the credits.
- According to director Joss Whedon, Scarlett Johansson's participation in the film was in question early in the film's development. Because of this, Whedon's original script for the film included Wasp in her place.
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